You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Roar go third with win over Mariners

AAP logoAAP 18/12/2016 Emma Kemp

They were made to fight for it, but Brisbane have seen off a spirited Central Coast 2-1 to surge to third on the A-League table and extend their unbeaten streak to nine games.

Dimi Petratos netted a stunning free-kick and veteran Thomas Broich laid the winner on a plate for Jamie Maclaren, who cancelled out Roy O'Donovan's equaliser with his sixth goal of the season.

The result lifted the rampant Roar past Melbourne City to sit on equal points with second-placed Melbourne Victory, leaving the Mariners in ninth.

Sunday's contest at Central Coast Stadium was far more absorbing than the scoreline suggested, as two hungry teams with a gulf in experience went end to end in the hunt for three points before Christmas.

A flurry of chances brought the game to life after 20 minutes.

Man-of-the-match Jack Hingert hit the upright after a superb run into the box as Maclaren forced Mariners goalkeeper Paul Izzo into a point-blank save.

Central Coast replied rapidly, Connor Pain flicking in a pinpoint cross that O'Donovan couldn't quite get to, before Blake Powell dragged the winger's header across goal.

But while Paul Okon's charges enjoyed incisive attacking forays, their more-experienced counterparts were quick to swat away any danger.

And when Brisbane opened the scoring on 33 minutes, there was nothing Izzo could have done.

Awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box after a Liam Rose handball, Petratos dispatched expertly, blending the perfect amount of power and direction from the edge of the box to swerve an unsaveable ball into the top corner.

But it was game on after the break thanks to a superb play from the Mariners' elder statesmen.

Industrious returning captain Nick Montgomery started the move in transition before Fabio Ferreira laid off beautifully for O'Donovan to calmly slot home beyond returning Brisbane gloveman Michael Theo.

Opportunities came thick and fast as the game crescendoed towards a seemingly inevitable conclusion.

It arrived via a ferocious 76th-minute counter-attack that exposed Central Coast's defensive vulnerabilities and allowed substitute Broich to make an instant impact.

The two-time Johnny Warren Medallist waited patiently for Maclaren to make his run, then dropped the ball perfectly into his path for a straightforward header at the far post.

"It was an entertaining game," Roar coach John Aloisi said.

"Both teams had a go, both teams had a lot of possession and both teams countered very well.

"But our boys dug deep and showed the character we've got in this squad. It was a good win for us."

Okon questioned the handball call against Rose but was also disappointed by the overall result.

"But we kept going until the last minute and the effort was there," he said.

"Going forward in the final third we were a bigger threat than last week.

"We had our moments, but it wasn't to be.

"We gave the ball away a little bit too much when we weren't under pressure."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon